Monday, February 28, 2011

Assignment 3: Hofgarten

I am now at a stage in my thinking about the 3rd assignment such that I have decided upon a theme, but not yet upon a subject.  The theme will be to take 8-10 photographs within a very finite space, each no more than 100M or so from a central point.  The photos should convey something of the sense of the place and the people or structure that occupies that space.  My first set I blogged a couple of days ago, the Friedensengel, although at the time this was not specifically for the assignment.

This weekend the weather was kind again, providing a bright blue sky and cold crisp weather, ideal for the creation of high contrast B&W.  My study this time was the Hofgarten, somewhere I go back to time and time again.  I spent 3 hours just walking around absorbing the atmosphere and trying a number of different ideas.  I started out with my 24mm TS-E mounted on a tripod, and then switched from a 100mm prime to a 70-200mm telephoto.  The clear skies meant plenty of light so although I continued to use the tripod for most of the shots hand holding was not an issue either.   I prefer to use a tripod for this style of photography because it helps in the composition and slows down the thought process.  I am using a tripod head with individual screw adjustments for each axis which combined with a spirit level enables very fine adjustment of the horizon.  My biggest issue is now aligning the camera exactly perpendicular to the subject - I am getting really fussy about parallel lines in images.

From the 264 photos I took that day, these are 10 that I think make a balanced group, a mixture of subject and style:

The first few images are very architectural:

I very much like this one, the shadow of the surveillance camera nicely breaks the rhythm of the columns

This is the Munich war memorial to fallen German soldiers from the last two wars, a very heavy structure. I have darkened the shadows to black so that the space under the slab looks very heavy with dread.  I could not eliminate the trees from the sky line without a very weird perspective, I like them as they imply life after death, but my tutor may not be so keen, so might take them out later.

The steps to the court house.  The sun was just turning the corner, creating deep shadows.  I have chosen a very pyramidical comp here, emphasizing the shape of the stone.

As this is designed to be a set describing different aspects of the location, the massive number of trees is a key feature.  This heavily pruned tree has a wonderful structure.  I have heavily processed this image to try to create separation from the background, colour channels adjusted up and down.  I have added a vignet to the image to darken the corners and a slight sepia tone to remind the viewer that this is organic.  When shooting I tried to ensure that there was little or no evidence of buildings behind the tree.

Not sure on this one, I like the repeating shape of the arch but the cyclist?  Maybe.

A popular activity on the gravel lined paths of the Hofgarten is Boules.  I thought this group made a good study, it talks about the use of the space.  I have two versions, one with their faces this one without.  Somehow the fact that they are turned away works as it places the attention on what they are doing, not on who they are.

Both of these photographs are in the same place, but with very different treatments, one is very much a study of the lady enjoying the winter sun, whilst the second is a study in perspective and shadow.

These last two images, speak to the space and structure of the garden.  I have many like this, it is difficult to know quite what to choose.  I suspect that if I use any of this set for the final submission I will struggle to make a final choice.

This is a start, but also not far from a finish.  I am surprised at how happy I am with these images, B&W is much less of a mystery now and a medium that I think I can be creative in.  So far this is the real learning from DPP.

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